Thursday, September 28, 2006

WHAT?!

The Alarm clock goes off and the and I lay there in bed groggy with sounds of am radio barely registering in my sleepy head.

The radio is set to 1480 WSAR and on this particular morning is set for 6 am, the top of the hour and WSAR is reading off the headline news of the day. Again, half asleep I can barely recognize voices never mind actually make out what anyone is saying and then I'm jolted by the announcement that the night before the City Council voted 5 to 3, with one councilor not in attendance to vote in FAVOR of seizing the Weaver's Cove site by eminent domain.

Now fully awake, the voice in my head screaming WHAT?!, I stare at the radio in amazement that the non-binding resolution submitted by Councilor Bill Whitty has actually received a majority vote.

I'm stunned and for several hours I wonder just what the Mayor will do...WSAR reports he will not veto the City Council and I'm stumped but later the Mayor is interviewed on WSAR and reminds us that this is a non-binding resolution and that he plans to take no action on this at all. To veto it would only send it back to the Council and invite more debate and he has no plans to change or alter the city's legal strategy.

WHEW!

Except that 5 of our 9 City Councilors actually voted in favor of this...To me that is really scary and to listen to WSAR there are certainly is support for seizing the Weaver's Cove site by eminent domain!

The problem with trying to take this land by eminent domain is the city does not have any sort of plan for what to do with it. What they do have is a very public opposition to Weaver's Cove LNG proposal. While it is certainly possible to come up with a fantastic plan for a waterfront site, can you really come up with one and make the courts believe that you true intention is just to stop the LNG facility from being built? Because if you can't, say the experts, then the courts tend to view the action as having been made in bad-faith and it stop it dead in its tracks.

Even if the city could convince the courts that the seizure was made in "good-faith" the price tag for the land could be much more than the 6 plus million the land is assessed at. The city could be forced by the courts to pay the 'expected' worth of the land which could be as much as 50-80 million dollars.

There is nothing wrong with having a different opinion on eminent domain but as representatives of the city it is irresponsible to pass a resolution that seems to promise to end all this with one legal maneuver, when the legal experts say it just won't work. Such a resolution, even a non-binding one has the ability to give false hope or worse it can erode the support for the efforts already underway.

Such political grandstanding on such an important issue is unforgivable.

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